Ryan Mason has told Dele Alli he can carve out a future for himself at Tottenham after he promised to give the midfielder a clean slate following his struggles under Jose Mourinho.
Alli suffered a lack of game time under Mourinho, often not making the squad at all this season. However, the 25-year-old has shown flashes of his talent when the chances have arisen. He starred in the FA Cup win over Marine in January and has also played a key role in the Europa League before its unwelcome conclusion.
Despite that, his career has stuttered badly over the last 18 months and has been strongly linked with moves away. PSG came close to landing Alli in January before Daniel Levy backtracked and rejected their advances.
The midfielder has also been tipped to become a target for Aston Villa and Everton this summer too.
Dele though looks to have been given fresh impetus following Mason’s temporary spell in charge. He was handed just his third Premier League start of the season in last Sunday’s 4-0 win over Sheffield United.
Now Alli looks set to keep his place for the trip to face Leeds. And he’ll travel with the squad to West Yorkshire having been given a welcome boost from Mason.
The interim Spurs boss says Alli is “100% committed to the cause”. And in reference to his struggles under Mourinho, Mason stated “the past in the past”.
“I can only take Dele and the rest of the players from what I’ve seen in the last two weeks,” Mason said. “I said last week that Dele trained himself into the team last weekend and he did do that.
Merson urges Spurs to play Dele Alli
Paul Merson thinks Tottenham are missing out by not playing Dele Alli and insists he's still one of England's best talents.
“Whatever has happened in the past has to remain in the past with Dele. As footballers, as people involved in football, and I think in life as well, you have to live in the moment. You have to live in the here and now.
“Dele along with the rest of the group have shown me that they want to work. They want to compete and it has been a good environment to work in. Dele has been excellent.”
Mason happy with Dele attitude
While Mason was giving little away about his team to face Leeds, he admits he could not be happier with Alli’s commitment.
“Absolutely [he did what I asked against Sheffield United]. I think it was clear to see that he was 100 per cent committed. He helped us regain a lot of second balls, he ran a lot and opened a lot of space for the other attacking players.
“Most importantly he had a lot of energy and he felt good, which was pleasing.”
Mason will pay due respect to the opposition, starting with Leeds on Saturday. However, he insists the focus will be more on his own players.
Mason said: “I respect any team we come up against. I respect managers, I respect players, I respect football clubs.
“It wouldn’t be right of me if I didn’t spend and invest a lot of energy and a lot of my time trying to figure out how they want to play. I focus a lot on Leeds. I focused a lot on Sheffield United.
“And every game that we do play, there will be a lot of focus on the opposition but also there has to be more focus on us because we have some very good players.
“I am sure they will be thinking about us as well. We respect them massively, we respect everyone we come up against but we have to focus on us.”